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Utah's HS new playoff format pits THREE teams against one another in a single game

Watch this highlight of a Utah high school play-in game for their state playoff and see if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Everything starts off like a normal post game highlight show with a recap of the Murray HS Spartans (UT) vs. West HS Panthers (UT)...until you get to about the 35-second mark (go ahead, watch it again). That's where, while talking about a few of the region's play-in games, the host notes after Murray nails a field goal to end the half with the score tied at 21 - "So the Spartans move on to play Skyline IN THE SECOND HALF." Wait. What just happened? Neither of those teams that started this game were named Skyline. As the highlights continue to roll, there is a different team - Skyline - featured in the highlights against Murray. At this point, my head is spinning a bit, so I do some digging and found perhaps the most interesting playoff format that any state has to offer in high school football. In Utah, when a three-way tie takes place for a playoff spot, they have a single play-in game featuring all three teams. Utah had two instances where that happened this year, and Jeremiah Jensen broke down how the play-in games work via KSL's Unrivaled featuring Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry. [audio mp3=""][/audio] "Three teams tied for the final playoff spot in that region. So they do a play-off called a play-in game." "They flip a coin and the team that win the coin flip plays the second half. The other two teams will play the first half. The winner of the first half advances to play the winner of the coin toss in the second half. The winner of that second half gets the playoff spot." What a creative idea to settle things on the field. Meanwhile, coaches (like myself) from states like Michigan are busy talking about how their playoff system is broken and how, due to the archaic and arbitrary system, the best teams aren't making it in and a lot of deserving teams are on the outside looking in. I'm not suggesting that Utah's solution is perfect, but you've got to at the very least tip your cap to them for thinking outside of the box to bring a creative solution to the table that will allow teams to settle things on the field, instead of having some computer spit out number and decide. One of the hosts goes on to suggest that this could be a solution to get a Group of 5 school into the College Football playoff. Our own Zach Barnett actually threw out an even more intriguing idea kind of along these Utah high school football playoff play-in game lines back in January, and it was wildly popular on social media.